The word ‘fashionable’ isn’t one I aspire to. Yes, I love fashion – I love the shows, fashion editorials, planning outfits, shopping… but I’m not actually very ‘trend aware’. To me, being fashionable is hard work; you’re forever chasing the latest trends and creating a seasonable wardrobe around them. I actually admire people who pull off the latest trends with aplomb, they dedicate so much time to getting the look just right. It’s such a tricky domain because if you get it just slightly wrong, the entire look falls apart. I’ve been there, done that, and rarely got the t-shirt, if you get my drift. I don’t have the patience – nor the figure or bank balance – for it and I’ve learned over the years that clean silhouettes and classic clothing suit my body and lifestyle best. Accessories are great for updating/upgrading my look and, this way, my collection is no longer swamped with cheap, trend-led pieces that last only two or three seasons.
All of this means I veer towards a monochromatic palette (black, white, grey, sometimes a spot of camel, or a pop of red, maybe even a Breton stripe), and my wardrobe is made up of jeans and black trousers (both are either skinny or flared), cosy but fine knits (chunky ones exaggerate my frame, cashmere is my new favourite), white t-shirts, basic vests, feminine skirts or dresses (sometimes fit and flare, sometimes body-con, depending on my mood and the occasion), and tailored blazers.
Of course, the blazer is back in a big way right now, which is lucky because I wear my black or white ones frequently throughout the year. However, this season the blazer to be seen in has a grey check – not something I already have in my wardrobe. But having seen it everywhere since September, and considered very carefully exactly how it would work for me and my wardrobe, I must confess: I bought one. It wasn’t a decision I took lightly – it’s such a fashionable piece, it’s certainly having a bit of a moment. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and that’s always a sign of a long lasting love affair, wouldn’t you say?
So, how did I justify this trend-led purchase? By answering three questions, which has become my mantra when shopping.
Will it date?
No. A blazer is a timeless and elegant silhouette, particularly when worn slightly oversized in a somewhat masculine way. Think of a man politely slinging his jacket over a woman’s shoulders for warmth – cool fifty years ago, cool now.
Is it a one-season only piece?
Not entirely. A Prince of Wales (or check of almost any kind) is a classic fabric that is regularly in and out of fashion – so it will always be a worthwhile purchase. Once its moment is over, store it away until its next starring role.
Will it work as part of two or three outfits I already have?
Yes. Only then is it a valuable addition. In this case, I could see the checked blazer fitting in to both weekend wear and work wear easily. For the weekend, I wore it to Sunday brunch with blue jeans, a cute jumper, trainers, and sunglasses, pictured here. For the office, I’ll team it with black trousers or jeans, a t-shirt, heels, and a great handbag. And – sound the klaxon – I managed to take it out to a recent dinner for a third look; black cigarette pants and a body, finished with barely-there sandals. Tick, tick, tick.
With this in mind, I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this blazer – it’s surprisingly good quality given its £49 price tag. A longer length and indented at the waist with structured lapels and shoulders, the cut is flattering. The check is subtle, the fabric soft not stiff, and the colour is darker than similar styles on the high street so it’s less trend-orientated than others. The only downside is the sleeves, which are cut slightly wide, leaving them a bit baggy and nondescript. Worn pushed up, the blazer is back in business.
For a fourth look, there are even matching trousers – but that might be a fashionable step too far for me.
I’m Wearing: blazer, The Collection at Debenhams; jeans, Jasper Conran at Debenhams; jumper, Sugarhill Boutique; trainers, Superga; bag, Mulberry; necklace, Alex Monroe (no longer available but similar here; sunglasses, Nicole Farhi (similar).
Images: Kris Miller.
Location: Dundee waterfront.